USMNT finishes 2021 with 1-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. Men’s National Team set a new record for most wins in a calendar year with a 1-0 victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina to close out a highly successful 2021.
The victory was the 17th of the year for the MNT, surpassing the previous record of 16 wins which was set in 2013. Twenty-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett, one of four players to make his international debut on the night, tucked in an 89th minute game-winner for his first MNT goal, becoming the 57th player to score in his MNT debut. Bassett had entered the game in the 78th minute.
With a 17-2-3 record, the team also ends the year with a .841 winning percentage, the team’s best in a calendar year in which five or more matches were played.
With Bosnia and Herzegovina settled into a formation with five defenders and three midfielders sitting almost right on top of the back line, the U.S. had to work hard to find space and dangerous opportunities in the attacking third. U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter made the first three changes with a little under thirty minutes to go, bringing on fresh legs in search of an offensive spark. He then made three additional substitutes in the final 12 minutes and four subs combined to produce the winner.
Forward Gyasi Zardes (62nd minute sub) did well to keep a defender Bryan Reynolds (63rd minute sub) cross alive in the penalty box and it dropped to debutant midfielder Jonathan Gomez (78th minute sub) who ripped a left-footed shot from the top of the box through a sea of bodies. Bosnia’s second half goalkeeper Bemin Dizdarevic made the save, but he couldn’t hold it and Bassett (78th minute sub) pounced on the tantalizing rebound from close range for the game-winner.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner posted his ninth shutout on the year, setting another record for most clean sheets in a calendar year and passing Kasey Keller’s eight which he achieved in 2005. Turner also extended his USMNT record for most appearances by a goalkeeper during their debut year with his 13th.
Midfielder Kellyn Acosta earned his 21st cap of 2021, marking the most appearances by a USMNT player in a calendar year since 1994.
With the match falling outside of a FIFA international fixture date, Berhalter fielded a balanced starting XI that featured five players with more than 10 caps and six with less, including debutant outside back Brooks Lennon.
Lennon was joined fellow first cap winners Bassett, forward Cade Cowell and Gomez when they entered in the second half, bringing the number of players to debut under Berhalter to 53, the third most players to debut under a USMNT coach behind Bruce Arena (89) and Bob Bradley (60).
Despite being even on shots in the first half, it was the USA that created threatening opportunities. The first came after 12 minutes when Lennon pushed high from the right side and sent a cross to the near post where forward Ricardo Pepi narrowly missed re-directing the ball on frame from close range.
Winger Jordan Morris, in his first USMNT match since suffering a serious knee injury last January, was a bright spot on the night as he made his first appearance since November 2019. Morris continuously found himself in good spots from both wings. After sending in a number of threatening crosses, Morris nearly broke the deadlock at the half-hour mark, but his diving header from six yards out was incredibly saved off the leg of goalkeeper Nikola Cetkovic on the goal line.
Five minutes before halftime, Bosnia midfielder Amar Begic was shown a straight red card after a nasty challenge on Acosta. Playing a man down in the second half, Bosnia dropped even deeper and was content to defend and counter, making it even more difficult for Americans, who nevertheless kept pressing and earned the game-winner.
The USA finishes the year with a 17-2-3 record, having won the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup and sitting in second place at the midway point of World Cup Qualifying.
The team will next prepare to play a trio of critical World Cup Qualifiers during the winter window, beginning with a home match on Jan. 27 against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio (Time TBD; ESPN, UniMas, TUDN). Three days later, the U.S. will cross the northern border to take on Canada on Jan. 30 (3 p.m. ET; TV TBD), then return home to face Honduras in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 2 (7:30 p.m. ET; FS1).
Through eight matches of the Concacaf 14-game final round Octagonal, the team is traveling the right road. Compiling a 4-1-3 record, the USA holds second place in the standings. The top three teams earn an automatic berth to Qatar in November 2022.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Cole Bassett (Unassisted), 89th minute: Gyasi Zardes did well to keep a Bryan Reynolds cross alive in the box, dropping it to newcomer Gomez, who ripped a left-footed shot from the top of the box through a sea of bodies. Bosnia’s second half goalkeeper Bemin Dizdarevic made the save, but the ball fell to Bassett who was first to the rebound and calmly converted the the game-winner. USA 1, BIH 0
- Tonight’s result sees the USMNT finish 2021 with 17 wins, setting a new team record for victories in a calendar year. With a 17-2-3 record, the team also ends the year with a .841winning percentage, the team’s best in a calendar year in which five or more matches were played.
- Tonight’s Starting XI averaged 24 years exactly, meaning the USMNT Starting XI averaged 24 or younger in 20 matches this year and under 25 in all 22 contests.
- Kellyn Acosta earned his 21st cap of 2021, marking the most appearances by a USMNT player in a calendar year since 1994. Acosta is the 11th different player to earn 21 or more appearances, but the first to do it outside of the team’s residency years in 1993 and 1994.
- Veteran attacker Jordan Morris earned his first USMNT appearance since Nov. 19, 2019, against Cuba. Morris stepped back on to the field for the USA after missing most of Seattle’s 2021 campaign recovering from a torn ACL. He also missed out on caps during 2020 as the team played an abbreviated schedule caused by the global health pandemic.
- Along with his debut, Lennon was joined by center back Henry Kessler and midfielder Johnny Cardoso in earning their first USMNT starts.
- Walker Zimmerman captained the USMNT for the fourth time. The team is 3-1-0 in matches where Zimmerman wears the armband.
- With teams allowed to dress 23 players, defender Aaron Long and goalkeeper John Pulskamp were healthy scratches from tonight’s squad.
- The USMNT moves to 2-0-1 all-time against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Walker Zimmerman captained the USMNT for the fourth time tonight. The team is 3-1-0 when the center back has worn the armband.
- Gregg Berhalter has a record of 31-7-6 as MNT head coach.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Date: December 18, 2021
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park; Carson, CA
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. PT (8:15 p.m. ET)
Weather: 58 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
BIH 0 0 0
USA — Cole Bassett 89th minute
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 2-Brooks Lennon (19-Bryan Reynolds, 63), 3-Walker Zimmerman (Capt.), 4-Henry Kessler, 5-George Bello (18-Jonathan Gomez, 84); 6-Johnny Cardoso (8-Jackson Yueill, 63), 10-Cristian Roldan, 23-Kellyn Acosta; 7-Jesús Ferreira (21-Cade Cowell, 78), 16-Ricardo Pepi (9-Gyasi Zardes, 62), 13-Jordan Morris (11-Cole Bassett, 78)
Substitutes not used: 12-Gabriel Slonina, 14-Auston Trusty, 15-Caden Clark, 17-Justin Che, 20-Kobi Henry, 22-Taylor Booth
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
BIH: 1-Nikola Ćetković (12-Belmin Dizdarević, 46); 5-Hrvoje Barišić, 3-Numan Kurdić, 4-Ajdin Nukić (Capt.) (8-Mehmed Ćosić, 78), 6-Aleksandar Vojnović, 11-Sulejman Krpić (17-Selmir Pidro, 46), 2-Josip Ćorluka (14-Marijan Ćavar, 62), 15-Andrej Đokanović (7-Haris Ovčina, 83), 13-Amar Begić (Ejected, 40), 9-Jovo Lukić (10-Saša Maksimović, 83), 18-Igor Savić
Substitutes not used: 16-Vedran Vrhovac
Head coach: Ivaylo Petev
Stats Summary: USA / BIH
Shots: 10 / 9
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 10
Offside: 1 / 0
BIH – Amar Begić (Ejected) 40th minute
USA – Walker Zimmerman (Caution) 68
USA – Jesus Ferreira (Caution) 70
Referee: Keylor Herrera (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: William Arrieta (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
4th Official: Randy Encarnacion (DOM)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Walker Zimmerman